South Carolina

South Carolina has a different take on gambling, though there are a couple of different ways to play here, the state doesn’t actually have any land based casinos, and it might be the only state in the country that has tried gambling, but then opted to go in the opposite direction. But let’s get into some information about South Carolina all together.

South Carolina is known as the Palmetto State, it is the 24th most populated state in the nation. Though it is on the larger side of the population, it is the 40th in terms of square miles. Some may not know this but it is home to the largest cascading waterfall which spans about 411 square feet long. The Upper Whitewater fall is a tourist attraction which attracts millions during the year.

Types of Gambling Found in South Carolina

Oddly, the state of South Carolina does not have any pari-mutuel betting. This is rare in most states because it is one of the oldest forms of legalized gambling. As we dive further into the gambling practices within South Carolina, you will see why. There is a state lottery, joining the ranks of 36 other states, players are eligible to use the lottery at age 18 with games like Mega Millions, Powerball and many others.

Since there are no land-based casinos because the law prohibits them, the citizens who wanted gaming came up with their own way to play. Cruise Ships! These casino cruises will arrive to pick up passengers, sail out to waters that aren’t governed by the state of South Carolina and the gambling will commence! There are two different casino ships within this state, SunCruz Aquasino and The Big M Casino, both departing from Little River, close to Myrtle Beach.

Gambling laws in South Carolina are strict, but apart from the lottery and the casino cruises we still find social games, like playing poker or bridge at home, and also charitable bingo games.

Other gambling alternatives and perspectives for the future

Similarly, to what happens in other states where gambling is severely restricted, also in South Carolina the citizens look for out-of-the-state gambling opportunities, which is not always easy given the distances. Georgia, their biggest neighbor, doesn’t have any casinos either, so the remaining options aren’t the most convenient.

The closest casinos are the casino cruises, and even these are over 100 miles from Columbia and Charleston. For those willing to travel to North Carolina, there are the two Harrah’s Cherokee casinos, and this means a three-four-hour drive, depending on where you are driving from. The hope for a casino in South Carolina might come from the financial difficulties the state is going through in the past years though.

When these financial difficulties generate problems at the level of the infrastructures and accessibilities, namely roads, the South Carolina state starts seeing casinos as a source of income, something that has been slowly changing the way public opinion sees gambling.

H3102 is a bill introduced in 2017 proposing an amendment to the state constitution to develop casinos, but also sports betting and pari-mutuel betting on sports. Even if the bill isn’t fully approved yet, it’s currently with the judiciary committee, it means a big advance considering the anti-gambling regulations existing so far in South Carolina.

The change of mindsets is the just the beginning of a long path to legalization, which requires a referendum, considering the legislation is approved.

Summing up

The gambling and legal environment in South Carolina has very strict legislation that forbids casinos and lad-based gambling, and even owning a roulette or a poker table, that’s how extreme it is. On the same line, also online gambling is forbidden.

On the positive side we find that both in state and multi-state lotteries are legal, as well as charitable gambling, even if this last is legally strictly defined. All these gambling limitations might be coming to an end soon though, as the state is starting to see gambling tax revenues as the way to solve their financial troubles and has been legislating in that direction.